Hannah Street, Beecroft

Southern (or odd numbered) side

5A, Eltham. This was built in 1908 for William Crump, with William Mark Nixon as its architect, it is a good example of a Federation style house with leadlight windows and stone foundations to the verandah. This was the address of R Barwick for membership of the Civic Trust between 1981 and 2008.

The house and garden are listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

5B, the Post Office is subject to a separate article on this web site on postal services.

The building is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

Uniting Care development built around 2010. Despite much opposition for this being built in a Heritage Conservation Area approval was given for it to proceed on the basis that the resulting structure contained heritage elements of looking like terrace houses and having pitched tile roofs!!

25, was the site of a medical practice throughout much of the period 1970 to 2000. Before that, during the 1940s and 1950s it was the childhood home of Nigel Butterley the noted Australian composer and his brother Harlin, one time Dean of St David’s Cathedral, Hobart Tasmania [1].

[1]      For further information on Butterley see elsewhere on this web site under People.

29        The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

51, Kunaware. It was built in 1915 in a style that is a late flowering of the Arts and Crafts movement. This land was first purchased by John O’Brien of Ashfield in 1887. He sold it in 1889 to William Gratus Coward an architect of Homebush. The land was then purchased by Henry Rawes Whittell in 1891 who in turn sold it to Charles Robertson Swann (1880-1946) in two separate lots in 1914 and 1917. Henry Rawes Whittell, was a government surveyor who lived in Lilla Street in the northern part of Beecroft.

Kunaware is a very individual house. It was built in 1915 for Charles Robertson Swan and his wife Kate. This family later moved to Malton Road. This house has been extended but retains its impressive street frontage, with interesting long bay windows with timber shingles above and below and considerable sandstone foundations and porches. The Swans sold the house in 1921 to purchase their next home which was in Malton Road.

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

61 and 63     are 1910 brick homes with timber verandas built in a similar style.

73,     was the home of Patrick Byrne. He was one of the sons of Thomas and Margaret Byrne who operated a dairy on land that is north of Hannah Street and to the west of Cardinal Avenue. In 1893 they leased part of this land but purchased a larger parcel in the same location in 1896. The roads were in such poor repair that Byrne was often damaging his horse and dray as he did his daily milk deliveries. Thomas died in 1924 (aged 65) and the dairy continued to be run by his widow, Margaret. When she had arrived from Derrycooley, Ireland in 1862 she had brought with her a saffron shroud and, in accord with her family traditions she was laid out in this shroud, in an open coffin, in the best room in the house for three days prior to burial. Following the death of their mother, the family continued to run the dairy until the land was used for the Hinchcliffe nursery in the 1930s and then sold in the 1940s. The parent’s home was demolished in 1972. This home has had the eastern verandah enclosed and a small circular leadlight window installed on that wall facing the street. It is sympathetic to the style of the home.

This was the address of G Farquhar for membership of the Civic Trust between 1983 and 2001.

Northern (or even numbered) side

28        The house, outbuilding and garden are listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

30, Corrie. This land was first purchased in 1888 by William Joshua Wilson. He sold it in 1900 to Joseph Alfred Grant who in turn sold it in 1904 to Andrew Murray (1853-1917) a Scots born accountant from Galshiels, Scotland. He arrived in the Colony when he was 31 years of age. He is not to be confused with an earlier Andrew Murray of Murray Farm Road – notwithstanding that this Andrew Murray also initially owned land in Murray Farm Road. The home was designed in 1913 by Charles Nixon, a young Beecroft architect living in Malton Road as a stuccoed house in the Arts and Crafts style designed. It retains a cottage garden with steps and terraces. Murray was actively involved in Village life.

Like many early home owners, Murray travelled daily to his work in the City by steam train. Murray eventually became Chief Accountant for Tucker & Co Wine & Spirit Merchants and the firm of Charles Churchill Tucker of Plympton, Murray Farm Road Beecroft. The first train in the morning left Beecroft at 7.40 a.m. and reached Central railway station at 8.45 a.m. These were the hours kept by managers rather than workers and is indicative of both expectations and the reality of the life of the elite in Beecroft before World War 1.

Following the early and sudden death of her husband, Isabella Murray remained living in this house until her death in 1938. The house still has its crazy sandstone path and now has a front yard that is fully planted as a cottage garden.

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

38, originally Oswald and then Blue Hills, was rented and then purchased in 1904 by prominent Beecroft residents, Charles and Alice Dobbie. The house had originally been built for Joseph and Sarah Grant. The house has elements of Victorian era design and the drive retains its sandstone twin tyre tracks drive. Dobbie was an accountant for all of his working life for Wright Heaton & Co Ltd who were shipping and customs agents. However the first love of Dobbie and his wife Alice was literature. In that capacity each were on a range of committees associated with the School of Arts and Alice ran poetry reading sessions in her home for young Beecroft women. Dobbie had some of his poems published under the pseudonym ‘Blue Hills.’ He once entertained the locals at a ‘manuscript night’ by presenting a tongue-in-cheek account of the adventures of a baker delivering hot cross buns in the highways and byways of Beecroft. Mrs Dobbie would often drop a bundle of books to young women who had left the district to encourage them to continue reading.

This was later the home between at least 1958 and 1968 of Rollo Kingsford Smith DSO DFC (1919-2009) and his wife Grace (nee Prior). Each was active in the local community. Rollo was distinguished as a member of Bomber Command and being awarded a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) as well as a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). He was also the nephew of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith after whom Sydney Airport is named. 

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

40.      This is the timber cottage in which the manager of the Herring orchard lived. It had a separate brick kitchen with a cellar underneath so as to prevent any sparks escaping to burn the home. There is another cottage on Chapman Avenue near the creek that was built for the gardener on the estate. In 1904 the house was purchased by Charles McKern as his family home. McKern was the Chief Examiner, NSW Treasury. His passion however was music and he sang as a tenor in the Sydney Philharmonia Society, from 1907 he was the conductor of the Beecroft Musical Society and the choir master at the Beecroft Presbyterian church.

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

40A    has at its entrance a Street Library. This is the earliest street library in Beecroft – which now houses a number of them. This library was established by Ms Sue Pearce, a primary school teacher with a passion for lifelong literacy. It was opened with an afternoon tea on 20 May 2017.

42, Tynron was built around 1910 [1]. It was the home of John Laurie and his family from at least 1915 to 1932. Laurie was an official with the NSW Bowling Association and critical to the formation of bowling in Beecroft. His son, William Rae Laurie, was in the first take of architectural students at Sydney University. He won the university medal, designed the Beecroft War Memorial and went on to become President of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. The house is a bungalow in the dark brick of the Thornleigh brickpits.

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

[1]      Northern District Times real estate section 6 March 2013

44, Gayhurst (corner with York Street) was the home from at least 1915 until the late 1930s of Frank Chapman. Chapman was a surveyor who was also a Councillor for Beecroft on the Hornsby Shire Council from 1915 to 1937. He was Shire President in 1921. When first elected in 1915 his major campaign issue was the state of repair of roads in Beecroft and always took an active interest in retaining ‘indigenous’ trees for the ‘sylvan appearance of the village.’

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

Sheen, corner of Hannah and York Streets. The land was purchased in 1887 and the home was built for Lesley George Herring a wool broker and director of Goldsborough Mort upon his marriage to Kate (nee Tucker). The home is a handsome two-storey red brick house with red terracotta tiled roof. The steep front gable is timbered and has a small circular upper porch which echoes the curved arch of the ground floor entrance. Chimneys are tall and of an unusual design.  The windows have small glass squares. The house had seven bedrooms. Originally there was a separate building between the house and Hannah Street: designed as a billiard room. A curving driveway entered from a corner gate, leaving a large area of lawn in front of the house on which croquet could be played. Palms and conifers were favoured plants of the Herrings. The Chinese elm dates from the time of the Vicars.

The Herrings conducted a large orchard in which Herring experimented with fruit and was one of the first to export lemons to California. A nursery was conducted on the northern boundary.

The Herrings left the house in 1914 to live on a country estate and the house was leased to the Vicars while their home, Yallambee, was being built in Cheltenham. After the Vicars departed, the home was used by Pennant Hills College, a Church of England (now Anglican) boarding school for girls, until at least 1922. Due largely to the campaigning of Mrs Vicars, Sheen was acquired in 1924 by Twilight House as a home for ‘elderly gentlewomen.’ Prior to Violet’s involvement with the Twilight organisation another Beecroft couple had also been closely connected with the Twilight Association. This was Mr & Mrs Innes-Noad of Malton Road. Mrs Innes-Noad was a major fund-raiser for Twilight House from 1913 and at the time of purchasing Sheen, Mr Innes-Noad was the Secretary of the organisation and, indeed he (unlike Mrs Vicars) was present at the opening of the home. The house has continued to be owned by that organisation and used for similar purposes since that time. In 2004, Mr John Laurie became Chairman of the Twilight organisation having been closely involved with it (as had his mother before him) since at least 1975. His grandmother was Violet Vicars and his grandfather was John Laurie who had lived a few houses to the east along Hannah Street.

The surrounding orchard and nursery was subdivided in the 1920s by trustees following the death of Mrs Herring.

50.      This is a between the wars brick bungalow was the home of Robert and Barbara Hope between 1963 and 2018 [1].

[1]      Northern District Times, Property Supplement, 7 November 2018